Council Decides To Keep Sports Pitches Under Direct Control

We’ve been told that the council’s cabinet decided last night to keep the new sports pitches by the Rayleigh Leisure Centre under it’s direct control . The council will NOT be leasing the land to any local club like Rayleigh Boys or Hambro Colts.

We understand that the decision was supported by every member of the Conservative Group.

This is the rough sketch map of a likely layout that we showed here a few months ago:

Sketch map of Proposed Football Pitches

We’ll write some more when we know more….

About the author, admin

  • So does this mean that they are going to be rented out by the hour?? Which in turn will mean, extra traffic every night causing inconvenience for us poor residents who are already suffering! It will also mean that these will not be looked after in the same way as allowing one club exclusivity.

    Another example where the council is not listening to the people to which it serves.

  • Good point Corey, is the council prepared to foot the bill when the pitches need work doing to the pitch, goal posts etc.? Have they thought about how far in advance the pitches would need to be booked up or how much they will charge the clubs to use them? A club basis its season on a set number of home games, if it can only rent the pitch for a few games a season why rent them at all. Maybe I am wrong and there is a very good reason for doing it this way, I would be very interested in the answer.

  • Corey
    I believe you have hit the nail on the head,attached is the E Mail sent to all Managers and Coaches at Rayleigh Boys by the Chairman.

    Further to last nights meeting of Rochford Council Executive Committee the decision was made that the pitches will remain in Council hands and not leased out to any club to up keep. The decision was made due to the comments made by Councillor John Pullen who said the general consensus of the west area committee that they could not decide who to give it to out of the clubs so the fairest thing to do was to keep running it under council control and this would allow anybody to use it. nobody else spoke or debated what he said the last 18 months hard work and preparation was decided in 1 minute. We were only allowed to observe not take part.

    Paul,Karl and myself are obviously very disapointed with the decision and the fact that the comments of John Pullen did NOT reflect the comments made by other councillors at the West Area Committee where both Tony Humphries and Patricia Weaver supported not only the ground being handed over to a club but us being their Favoured club. I feel this whole process has not been democratically carried out of which I will still seek advise on.

    I do not believe this will be the end of it as what was crucial to this project was a club getting a grant for the changing facilities this now will not happen and also they now need to find £7000 per annum to cut the grass and mark out the pitches ,which will be paid out of your council tax and now that no club is involved the matched funding for changing facilities will not happen. Our proposal involved the invitation of two residents of the area onto our Committee to have input into any decisions and improve the running of the area for everybody and the area was never to be blocked off so residents or the local schools could still use it ,When uncontrolled parking blocks up the leisure centre and the surrounding streets at least we will not have to deal with it but the problem is the LOCAL RESIDENTS WILL ,which is unfair on them. None of these issues were even bought up by the Rayleigh members of the committee J Pullen ,P Webster and M Webster.

    We will not burn our bridges on this project and will still talk if the council wants to but we now must move on ,so we will start looking for land in Rayleigh to buy or lease with funding or find a rich benafactor ,I know this sounds like you need Paul Daniels as Chairman not me but I assure you with all of your support the Committee will keep trying to secure a home to safeguard the future of the club for years to come. Before these so called representatives of the community sell off every park for building land.

    One last point to make is please can you ensure your parents know of the decision as some I have spoken to have been very interested and please mention the two councillors who did support us.


  • Martin / Karen

    You must feel gutted over this.

    For myself, I didn’t want to make my mind up until I had all the information I wanted, on what each club wanted to do, and officers advice on what size club was suitable for the site.

    I’m quite angry that I’ve never received this info.

    For example, I only knew about Rayleigh Boys thoughtful idea of inviting two residents onto their committee because I saw Martin at the West Area committee.

    The discussion at the West Area Cttee was very vague because the report wasn’t detailed enough. No vote was taken and the cttee did NOT decide to support the Direct Control option.

    Talking to officers in advance of the exec meeting I was told that one possibility would be to delay the decision and invite each of the clubs to make a presentation. That would have been good but clearly won’t happen now.

    Deciding not to give it to a club because that wouldn’t be ‘fair ‘ is a bit weak. It fact if the Lib Dems had made the decision I’m sure we would have been accused of being “wishy-washy liberals who can’t make our minds up’ We shouldn’t be stopping at this one site, whoever came out second this time might have been picked next time.

    I’ve been told that in the Tory group’s private meeting on Monday night they decided unanimously not to give it to a club. How Tony Humphries fits into this I don’t know – he may not have been present, or his voice may simply have been forgotten amongst the 30-odd councillors in the group.

    I wanted to get to the exec board meeting myself but I was feeling poorly and had to get up at 3:30 the next morning…. So I won’t comment on what John Pullen said because I didn’t hear it myself.

    However it is an interesting coincidence that John is up for election next week and Corey is his opponent!

  • Karen/Martin, I am at my wits end to understand how a decision like this can be made. It is the worst of all scenarios. at least if a club had been allowed to lease the pitches it would have been straightforward, now everything is still undecided and the worst thing about it is the youngsters will not understand why. All they want to do is play football. It would have made more sense and have been more economical for the council to lease the pitches and let the club bear the cost of the upkeep. It was a very sensible idea to let two residents onto the committee and this should have been considered during the councils decision making process. This has been my biggest problem with our council, common sense does not prevail very much and this is what we must change. I feel sorry for the youngsters and their parents that they have lost a great opportunity to do something positive for the youngsters of this town. It would have given a club the chance to teach youngsters how to respect what they have, in this case their own ground. This definately gives young people a positive feeling of belonging which carries on into adult life. I know this because of my sons involvement in Rayleigh Cricket Club. They are thriving and that is because they all know that it is their club and their ground and they act responsibly towards it. There just is nothing more to say about this decision because it just does not make sense!

  • In light of this conclusion I now feel it is time to speak out about how long it has taken to get to this let’s face it ‘cop out’ decision. I speak as not only a member and manager of Rayleigh Boys YFC but a resident of this estate, I live in Temple Way and about a 30 second walk away from the proposed site.

    It staggers me the amount of time it has taken to reach this decision. Our chairman Martin and others who represent the committee have worked tirelessly giving up their own time (18 months!) for a decision to be made in minutes. As we know Hambro Colts were the olther club applying for the use of the land and alhough it would not have been my favoured option, for obvious reasons. At least a local club would have the chance to thrive and grow and serve the community for the benefit of the next generation of local people. As Mike says above Rayleigh CC have really thrived since contorlling their own ground and I would like to say what a great job Brian Dawburn and the committee are doing up there. My son is also a member.

    I have to say it again, 18 months to decide on childrens football? we’re not talking here of evicting people from their homes! Martin and the club have lost time throughout this process and I just hope in future that decisions such as these can be reached quicker for the benefit of everyone, allowing other options to be explored in the likely event of a disappointing conclusion!

    I doesn’t suprise me though – the pathway cutting through to Sweyne Park was promised by George Whimpey when I was looking at my house in summer 2006! Put it this way I telephoned the council countless times to chase them up on the path last summer and it was done a week after my last phone call! It would have been left and left otherwise. That said I’m not sure if the council have adopted these roads? I don’t believe they have yet? which gives some indication of how long it will take the council to get moving and turn the land into football pitches.

    I must now speak out in support of Rayleigh Boys failed application. Having 2 residents as committee members is a fantastic idea as along with me the dialogue between both the residents and club would be constant to ensure that the land was managed for the benefit of the club but not to the detriment of the residents. As has already been stated this is all by the by now. I now have visisons of a poorly maintained piece of land which I will be able to view every weekday as I walk to and from the station, how dissapointing.

    I now await a comment from ‘admin’ suggesting how these decisions are lengthy and not priority and this is usual, etc, etc. but you will not alter my view that 18 months is nothing short of riduculous!

  • Kris, you’ve got me wrong here. This sort of length of time IS ridiculous but sadly it is not unusual. They SHOULD be dealt with more quickly.

    But I just want to say that thinsg are not over yet. June Lumley has called in the decision to the Review Committee. Stand by for another post within 30 minutes!

  • Hi Kris, I don’t think you will get that type of reply from Admin on this website. I think he was as disappointed as all of us as to the outcome. It was the Tory Council who made that decision and as they have just been voted back in I can’t see much will change. Pity.

  • Hi Kris,

    As Admin says the length of time is not unusual. The pathway route from Priory Chase to Sweyne Park was first requested in 2001! You were not the only one ringing on a weekly basis for its completion since the Leisure Centre was opened. We had hoped for it to be round the perimeter of the field not through the middle where the football pitches will be. It was deemed the cheaper option to site the footpath/bridleway along the current route. It will not be ideal for the horses and football players mixing together Saturday/Sunday mornings and sharing Priory Chase with the ASDA traffic. The Pegasus crossing in Rawreth Lane has been brought up many times in the last 18 years during the various housing developments that have taken place. The usual reply is that there is not enough room to site it when the development is finished.

    It may take a few years but I expect RDC will see sense and allow your club to take control in the end.

  • Admin, Mike, Thanks for your posts and support on this issue – it will be interesting to see how this develops.

    Essex B’way Association – I remember you saying that you wanted it to go round the permieter which would be a far more appropriate use of the space, the hole thing does need looking at as when it rains the path floods (it sits into the land) and walking back from the station at night during the winter the only way I know I’m on course is by feeling the waves lapping over my shoes! Good old George/Taylor Whimpey.

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